Social media is a brilliant tool for marketers – to be able to engage your audience in this way was unthinkable in the not-too-distant past. But social media is not a silver bullet; it will not solve all of your marketing problems and may actually cause some new ones.

Run through the below questions. If you answer no to any of the below questions, starting a new social media account might not be for you.

How committed are you? The first thing you will need in your social media journey is commitment. You need to commit yourself to posting daily (on some networks more than one post per day) and that is a big commitment, particularly if social media is an add-on to your already busy job. And what happens when you go on holiday, who looks after the account then? What if someone asks a question on your social media account? They will be unlikely to happily wait for an answer for two weeks while you are away.

Got something to say? When you are thinking about setting up your account, you will have something to say, maybe about a particular story or event. However, will you still have some interesting things to say in a week or a month or 6 months’ time? Seeing into the future is difficult, but be pragmatic – if you’re likely to run out of content in the short-term, don’t start an account.

Are you a patient person? Social media audiences tend not to develop quickly at least initially. Don’t forget, a new social media account starts with zero followers and getting the audience to grow can be a slow process. You need to be prepared to talk to an empty room until people start seeing you. You could promote your account, but that will cost money and doesn’t always guarantee an engaged audience. If patience isn’t a strong point, you’re in for a rough ride.

Do you know where your audience are? Some social networks are complicated to understand, others much simpler. The choice of network must not be driven by which networks you understand, but rather by where your audience is. If you are promoting to a more mature audience, Facebook may be appropriate, a younger audience may engage better on Snapchat. There are guides to all social media networks out there, get learning!

It might be that social media isn’t the channel that will meet your needs. The number of abandoned social media accounts will tell you that social is hard. But if you stick at it, have a clear plan, some great content and learn from your posts through analytics, it can be perhaps the most powerful marketing tool ever created.